If temperatures during the wintertime vary enough, they can cause a phenomenon known as ice quakes.
While earthquakes are a well known natural disaster, a lesser known but equally disturbing "quake" can happen in winter. These are known as ice quakes and they occur when the air temperature heats and cools frequently.
If it rains during a warm spell in winter, the water will seep through the cracks in the ice, slowly filling up any crevices. Then, when the temperature drops, the water freezes. Sometimes, rather quickly, which causes the now frozen water to expand and push everything around it apart.
Ice quakes can also refer to the cracking of glacial ice or when the ice in a frozen lake breaks apart.
When an ice quake occurs, the sound it makes has been described as gunshots, exploding bombs or falling trees. These sounds, or "booms," have been reported by people in different states. While their effects are mostly localized and seldom cause significant damage, houses have been known to shake, with foundations and roads fractured.
Thankfully, ice quakes don't happen very often, and are typically felt in rural areas of the Midwest and Northeast, as well as Canada.
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